September 30, 2023

Bobbys Brane

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Kroger, Albertsons in talks to sell stores to C&S, SoftBank

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A customer leaves an Albertsons grocery store in Riverside, California, U.S., October 14, 2022. REUTERS/Aude Guerrucci/File Photo/File Photo

(Reuters) – Kroger (NYSE:) and Albertsons Companies Inc are in talks to sell some grocery stores to C&S Wholesale Grocers to obtain regulatory approval for their $25 billion merger, Bloomberg News reported on Tuesday, citing people familiar with the matter.

C&S, which has partnered with SoftBank (TYO:) Group for the transaction, could announce a deal as soon as this week to acquire most or all of the stores they are unloading for antitrust reasons, the report said, adding that it is unclear how many stores C&S will acquire or how much it is paying for them.

Kroger, Albertsons, C&S and SoftBank did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for a comment.

Reuters had reported in February that Kroger and Albertsons were advancing their plans to sell between 250 and 300 stores they hope will alleviate U.S. antitrust concerns over their combination.

The stores that the firms may sell could be worth more than $1 billion and are are located across all the regions where the two companies operate – for example, the Pacific Northwest, Southern California, Phoenix and Chicago.

In March, the companies reiterated that they would divest some stores to win the regulatory clearance required to go ahead with the merger.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which is reviewing Kroger’s proposed $24.6 billion acquisition of Albertsons, is under pressure from some U.S. lawmakers and consumer advocacy groups to block the deal on concerns it may lead to higher grocery prices.

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